Wargaming Tradecraft: Living in the future, get used to it


Living in the future, get used to it

When my wife and I were driving back from an event hours from home, I steered our car with a small video screen hanging from the window that displayed a map of the surrounding area with a marker where we were; when I needed to turn anywhere, it spoke to me, telling me the name of the street and what direction to take. Gone are the days of holding a clumsy device to the side of my head that allows me to communicate with anyone on the planet - above, a blue light occasionally blinked; letting me know that if someone wanted to talk to me, all I had to do was talk back, while continuing to drive. My wife held the main communicator, a small light flat device, interacting with it's display by touching the screen, viewing pages from all over the world and playing games that until recent years would have required a small but heavy tower filled with electronics to run.

So, we go to see a movie the other day, and as I'm walking past the movie's poster, I notice in the bottom left, beside the release date, a square. The square has a smaller square in three of the corners and is filled with what looks like static.

What's the point of all this?

In case you didn't notice, we're living in the future.

Today, I want to discuss bar codes. Maybe you noticed a new little icon in the top left when you visit Wargaming Tradecraft. (Kinda like this)

This icon is called a QR code. There's a bunch of different standards, and other companies are trying to develop their own. Basically, they store data. Not a lot, but enough.

If you have a smartphone like an Android, Blackberry or an iPhone, (or even a computer with a webcam) you can get QR readers that take a snapshot and translate the icon into whatever it contains. (Plain text, websites, email, contacts, events, map locations, etc) Google Goggles is probably the best I've come across, and even the iPhone can use it.

There are a lot of sites and apps that offer free code generation. I used QR Stuff.com's to create mine.

So what's the big deal?

People are using these as business cards, email signatures, name tags and even this. If you open up a recent DELL laptop, almost everything inside has a tiny QR sticker. Imagine using one as a watermark or a tag on all your art? I've thrown it on this website as a quick way for someone who wants to browse over on their phone. There are plenty of applications, and this is another way for me to strengthen this sites digital presence.

What's the final product look like when I scan my phone over the icon? This:

How awesome is that?
To make it hover on my site, I simply add an HTML Widget and create an "A" link tag with an image in it. To the "A" link, I add the following code to make the widget appear at the designated location:
You can replace "top" with "bottom" and "left" with "right". The #px is the distance from the edge.

And now, I'll leave you with this:

sharing the hot Swedish love of Little Gamers


  1. I find the codes annoying as they presume one has a cell phone.

  2. For places that are exclusively using the barcode, yes, I can see it annoying when they exclude others because they don't have some fancy equipment. Places like that theatre poster are testing to see how much it's recognized and used, so their contest is only via that link.

    For my site, I'm just using it as an added feature. There's nothing to stop people from manually entering my site on their phone.

    Between that webcomic, the theatre poster and ripping apart a bunch of Dells that were dead right out of the box, I figured post a little something on the topic.

  3. That's very interesting. I wonder what all the barcode stuff was. Thanks for letting me know.


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